The proposals resulting from the GES—small but useful steps in a constructive direction, supported by decision-makers from diverse walks of life—we label “Solutions.” This label is obviously not meant to imply exhaustive answers, but rather insights concerning concrete actions that could move us up the ladder of global collaboration.
The solutions proposed and discussed at the GES are summarized annually in the book Global Economic Solutions. These results of the GES are communicated to leading international communities of policy makers and researchers. Thereby the GES is meant to initiate an ongoing dialogue on global problem solving. The proposals achieved sizable agreement from the GES panelists and the wider GES community. The proposals aim to provide shared visions of the future, which are meant to inspire cooperative efforts to address global problems. Where possible, these efforts should be practical, feasible actions towards well-defined goals.
Naturally, we do not claim that all the proposals made here are new. We do not aspire to novelty per se, but to usefulness. Myriads of new policies and strategies are invented in response to global problems each year. Our aim is not to add to their number. Rather, the epochal challenge we face today—in this world of missing cooperation under growing interdependence—is to identify a coherent set of insights that can provide a basis for concrete cooperative action.
These insights should ideally satisfy a number of basic prerequisites:
- The insights should be internally consistent. All too often policies and strategies are created in mental silos, each formulated without reference to the others. For example, pension policies are often designed independently of employment policies; redistribution policies are usually formulated independently of growth-promoting measures; energy policies often conflict with the objectives of environmental policies. The GES strives to avoid this pitfall. It seeks awareness of the interconnections among global problems, along with the consequent interconnections among the policy and strategy responses.
- The insights should aim to serve the global public interest in the widest sense. In particular, they are meant to be inclusive in geographical terms—relevant to the countries of the world, whether developed or developing. They also aim to be occupationally and socially inclusive—relevant to the business, policy-making, academic and civic communities, to the employed and unemployed, and to the rich and poor.
- The insights should focus on actions that are meant to make the world a better place for the next generation. This means that the underlying problems are lasting ones, not those that are likely to disappear in a matter of years. The insights involve the longer-term thinking that is often displaced by the urgent day-to-day issues with which business leaders, policy-makers and other representatives of civil society must deal. They aim to provide a picture of the future towards which we must strive through concrete policies and strategies.
Needless to say, this is a tall order. Success can only be achieved through the accumulation of many small steps in a coherent direction. The GES is meant to contribute to this process. The insights presented here are the product of a prolonged exchange of ideas during the GES and in the months before and afterwards among leaders from the business, policy-making, academic and civic communities. Although the GES participants come from diverse walks of life, they share the belief that we need a reawakening of global cooperation in our current multipolar world.
All past instances of global cooperation began as ideas in the heads of individuals and grew into visions that aligned people’s diverse efforts. The GES seeks to help generate such ideas. While none of us can make a substantial difference in isolation, each of us can make limited, concrete changes towards the common good and the sum of all these changes will be our legacy for the next generation.